After last week’s big announcement of me quitting my 9 to 5 so I could be a full-time entrepreneur, I got a lot of amazing comments, tweets and emails (thank you!). I also got a lot of questions of how my first week went and how this big decision affected my financial situation.
So, What Was Week One as an Entrepreneur Like?
Last week was a crazy week. A big transition from my normal routine of travelling by subway downtown every day, working a full 8-hour day, then coming home to work another 6 hours on my brand.
It felt like a huge luxury after more than 7 years working in an office to be able to sleep in til 10am, take my time making breakfast, and not having to have to wear heels all day.
But…it was also really strange being home alone and working on my own. I’m used to being around people all the time, so as my husband put it “I got a bit weird” near the end of the week.
Unless I had a good reason to leave the house, some days I just wouldn’t. My main excuse is that it’s freezing cold outside, but I think I’m also just not used to working my own hours and basically doing whatever I want whenever I want.
It’s great to finally have this freedom, but it’s a lot of pressure! I want to be productive, but no matter how much I do in a day, I still feel like I didn’t do enough.
And that’s just week one! I know I’ll find my rhythm soon, but just wanted to give you a glimpse into what life as a newly self-employed person looks like.
In short, it’s not as glamorous as you may expect.
Let’s Rewind and Talk About My Finances Though
Ok, now I want to talk more about what this major life change meant for my finances.
Quitting a job that gave me full benefits, had an RRSP matching program, and paid me consistently every two weeks wasn’t easy to give up. Especially when my husband is a freelancer, and the fact that I always had a regular day job gave us both a sense of security. We knew that if for some reason he didn’t make any money for a few months, I could cover us both with my paycheque.
But here’s the thing, it came to a point in my career where working for a stable paycheque just wasn’t enough for me.
It didn’t always feel like that. When I first started over 2 1/2 years ago, I thought I was doing some good, making some waves, being a key person on the marketing team. But over time I realized that I was making way more waves on my own time with my own brand. And I’m a wave maker.
So, before taking the plunge, my husband and I had a number of conversations about what this would mean for us financially.
Full disclosure, and I haven’t revealed this anywhere (ever!) because I generally like to keep how much I make private, but I’m gonna give you the numbers! In 2016, I made just over $34,000 from my side business.
That may not sound like a lot, but for me it was the number I needed to feel confident that I could afford to leave my job.
You see, I made that money off brand partnerships alone. Not only that, for half the year I was undercharging for my services, and if I’m completely honest, I’ve never sought out any of that business. A little bit on the podcast sponsorship side, but every other brand campaign I’ve done, the sponsors have come to me.
What that means to me is that if I continue doing that, then add in my financial life coaching service and a few paid courses, having the goal to match if not exceed my day job’s salary isn’t that crazy.
But What About My Mortgage? And Bills? Adulting Is Expensive!
Besides feeling confident that I could make a living on my own, I also saved up quite a bit of money for my emergency fund. Since I am still working on launching my money coaching business and courses, I’m only making money off my brand right now. And that kind of money is never guaranteed. It all depends on if brands want to work with me and they have advertising budgets to spend.
So, to be prepared for the unexpected, I started hoarding my money. Usually, I like to have at least $10,000 in my emergency fund, but for this new adventure I’m on I made sure I had at least $25,000 easily available to me.
I wanted to feel safe in case something happened, and there is no way I’m every going to depend on credit cards or a line of credit. If you know me, you know I hate debt and I’m gonna do everything in my power to stay in the black for as long as I live!
What Else Has Changed for My Finances?
Besides all of this, the biggest change I’m making in my life is how I spend. When I was working pretty much 12 hour days and making pretty good money, I’d spend. I’d buy my lunch every day. I’d buy seasons of shows on iTunes. I’d buy at least two bottles of wine per week. I’d order take-out for dinner at least 3-4 times a week.
Even though I was making good money, I was spending more and more. Honestly, I think it was all emotional. When I got sad, stressed or angry, I’d spend.
I don’t want to live like that anymore.
Which is why I’m on a spending cleanse.
What that means to me is I’m trying not spend any money. Pretty simple. I’m making all my meals at home (and getting my husband on the bandwagon too). I’m not going to be buying any new clothes. I’m basically trying to reset my brain so I don’t spend when I feel.
I want to simplify my life and be smarter with my money.
I won’t always be like this, and I don’t have a deadline, but I’m just putting a big focus on being a conscious consumer for the foreseeable future.
I know it’s only been a week of living like this, but I really like it. It just takes away so many distractions from my life, and makes me focus on one big goal — making my business take-off like I’ve always dreamed of.
Have your finances changed in the past few months? Why and what are you doing about it?
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